Thursday, January 30, 2014

Six Amazing Comics Creators - Art Edition

So, chances are you haven't heard of these artists before, but you'll hear from them soon because they are amazing and they are making great comics. Visit their websites, buy their material, and be the person that says, "I used to read these people when...".

1. Adam Markiewicz @AdManComics 

Find out what is going on with Adam at and (NSFW)
A former Kubert School attendee, expect to hear some amazing things coming out Adam's corner of the comic 
world once people start to catch on. 

Selena had to sit by my ass for an entire con. Yup, I feel sorry for her. Thing is, I got to see her commissions all day long, and they were fucking incredible. I admit I'm a bit biased about everyone on this list, but it doesn't mean that their work doesn't speak for themselves, and Selena is one kickass artist. Oh, and she loves Mass Effect. 

3. Johnnie Christmas @j_xmas

I can't think of a nicer guy in comics that I've had a chat with than Johnnie. He was a truly wonderful guy,
and on top of that he is one fucking killer artist. Glad to hear that him and Ed Brisson just had one of 
their ideas picked up to make into a movie, it couldn't have  happened to better people. 

4. Ramon Villalobos @RamonVillalobos

I love Ramon. He is a lively twitter artist, a great sketch artist and a great pinup artist. He is 
also a wonderful writer (Read the Vitruvian Underground), and an amazing sequential artist
(Read LP that he did with Curt Pires). 

5. Dalton Rose @Daljamros

Dalton has worked with some great writers (Sam Humphries and Curt Pires) in the last couple of years 
on some great series, Sacrifice and Theremin. Go to his tumblr and make sure you read his short comic 
called Joywell. His style seems simple, but is so wonderfully simple, an economy of line. 

Yasmin is boss. I was intro'ed to her from the series called Hire This Woman. And you know what? People should hire this woman. Her webcomics Saint's Way...amazing! 

And with that I'm out. I am planning on a writer and possibly a coluorist version of this come back soon. 

Martin John

Monday, January 20, 2014

Getting Foreign Matter back on its feet.

So, the reason I started this blog was so that I could talk about writing and producing my comic, Foreign Matter, and if you have been around for awhile you know that there are times that this almost drove me crazy. I'm still here four years later and I am just about to drop twelve issues of Foreign Matter, for free, at That is right, we are finished, well almost completely finished, but I will need to get back to making some money before I commission the final couple of pages of art that I need done for the final issues (life has been a little insane lately).

For those of you not in the know, Foreign Matter is a murder/mystery superhero tale with Michael Bay action sequences and wonderful plot twists that will make you dance with joy and cry with sorrow.

Making it to the end of this journey is enough to make me cry. IT has been fun, it has been trying, but there has never been a time that I didn't think that it was going to get done. It is getting done, it has been done for awhile. It is getting done. We are in the stages where we are getting things done and we will rock and roll it for you SOON. I promise.

Here is some sample artwork for you:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ten Artists I Want To Work With - #1 Richard Corben

So, this series has no real objective, and very few rules. The two rules are as follows: 1. The artist has to be alive. 2. I have to come up with one rough idea of what I would like to write for the artist.

For the final installation I have one of my favorite artists of all time, Richard Corben. Corben is actually the one artist that I have contacted begging to work with him. While I have little in the way of credentials he took the time to write me back and let me know that he was WAY too busy doing what he was doing in order to accommodate my insanity.

Why would I want to work with Corbo? Corben can do it all, everything, at anytime, in any genre. I've seen him do mainstream (?), horror, fantasy, erotica, science fiction, takes on literary fiction (Poe and the like), as well as more. Corben is amazingly diverse, and can handle it all.

Corben is one of the artists that I can look at and attribute pure storytelling ability to. When Kevin Maguire was looking at facial expressions and thinking about how to tell a story using just them, I am sure he must have been doing a quick study of Corben's Heavy Metal stories. Corben is an expert in body language and facial expression, and this is a large part of the reason that I love how he illustrates his stories. There would be no need for dialogue or caption boxes in a Corben story, you could just let him draw sweaty brows and nervous hands for twenty-two pages and I am sure that it would be interesting. 

One more thing, Corben can draw anything. I don't think I've seen a story that has been drawn by the man that doesn't have a huge amount of imagination splashed all over it. And I don't think I've seen anything that I would consider to be awkward drawn by the man. 

Corben was one of those artist who immediately pulled my eye. His style wasn't like anyone else's, it was unique, completely his own, and mastered in such a way that you could tell just by looking that it was Corben. Corben is edgy and dark, unafraid to draw images that might be burned into the back of your brain, that might turn you on, and that are undeniably beautiful. Say what you want about his work (I know that it is not for everyone), but I believe him to be on a level that few can reach. 

Corben is capable of painting his own work in various mediums, but allows others to touch it. He has experimented in digital painting, and excelled in it, but does not work primarily in one medium, he jumps from brush to pen to whatever he needs really. To say that I am in awe is to understate.

What would I write for Corben? Hard question for me, but I have to give in to the idea of something set in a remote location, something horrible and terrible, with characters that think dark thoughts and creatures that pour from holes in the walls. I would like for it to be contemporary, something that included references to today, because I don't think I've seen much of Corben working in a setting that involves the modern day, but I wouldn't want to pull him too far from what I've enjoyed seeing his work in, madness and the like washing over everything. 

Hope this finds you well and that you have discovered a modern master, or looked at him in a new way,


Saturday, December 28, 2013

10 Artists I Want To Work With - #2 Geof Darrow

I remember when I went into the local comic shop and saw the oversized comics that was Big Guy and Rusty the Toy Robot for the first time. I might have read about it in Wizard magazine and I might have just stumbled across it. I knew Frank Miller from Sin City and possibly Daredevil at that point, but no one had prepared me for Geof Darrow.

Geof Darrow is one of the best artists period. Alive. In my humble opinion (good enough to make my sentences in sentence fragments). He is probably not blasting through pages at a high rate, but he is creating work that last, and work that he can look at and go, "Damn, that was fun." You can't say that about every artist working today. Darrow makes his pages count, and his splash pages as detailed as humanly possible and I have to admire him for that. These can't be easy pages to finish, you have to pencil and ink every single line on each page, and I am sure that takes patience (and a lot of wonderful arm muscles).

Once again I must say that Darrow's line is calm, although his subject matter isn't. His lines are clean, precise and measured. His pages are well put together. In the Conan cover up above, your eye focuses on Conan in the midst of the carnage that he is doling out. And within that chaos Darrow manages to do that. It is talent, it is knowing how to lay out a page and to make the reader's eye move along the page and focus where you want it to. I've read the theory on how to do this, but Darrow is a master at this.

After Big Guy I didn't see Darrow art until I came across the fact that Miller and he had collaborate on something called Hard Boiled before Big Guy. I immediately started saving my money and found a copy as soon as I could (this was before I had a credit card, and maybe even before ebay or Amazon). I was blown away by Hard Boiled.

Hard Boiled was mind-bendingly violent, hyper-detailed and kinetic pulp sci-fi. As a young man I felt like I had looked into the face of God as I read this book. It was unlike anything I had encountered up until that point, a blend of Blade Runner, a b-movie slasher flick (in terms of gore), and the best of film noir (think Cagney). Darrow was the champion of the book. He took Miller's insane fantasies and brought them to life in a way that no one else could have, with a vision of a singular man. 

Do you remember how you felt when you watched the Matrix for the first time? That is how I felt reading Hard Boiled. And guess what, Darrow was one of the artists that designed the look of the Matrix. Some of the images that you marvelled at onscreen came directly from his head to be filtered by the Wachowskis, and their effects crew and camera artists.

I think the three movies kept Darrow quite busy, you didn't see him around the comics scene for awhile and then he showed up under a banner at Dark Horse, something that had the blessing of the Wachowskis with a project unlike anything I had seen, Shaolin Cowboy. There weren't a lot of words between the pages, and there wasn't any solid plotline, but it seemed as though Darrow had forsaken linear and had just started taking his subconscious and putting it on the page with a character that he liked a lot. I was mesmerized. 

Shaolin Cowboy still drops an issue now and then, and I await every one with anticipation. There really is nothing like it on the stands. There is one scene that takes place in the belly of a colossal beast, wherein the Shaolin Cowboy uses a staff with two chainsaws on it to eviscerate a shark. You have to see this, it is absolute insanity. 

Most recently Darrow has done a couple of covers for Deadpool, and I believe he dropped an 'Adventure Magazine' based on Shaolin Cowboy modelled after pulp mags and written by Andrew Vachss. 

What do I want to write for Darrow? Let me see. I would love to do an Isle of Doctor Moureau in the middle of New York city type of story. Just crazy shit stitched together by a madman and let loose on the unsuspecting. And why not make it a little surreal why I was at it. That would be so much fun.

Until next time,

Martin John